RISING race ace Josh Webster is ready to follow in the footsteps of Formula One world champions Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen.
The Stowmarket speedster has signed up to race in the Certina Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship, renowned as one of the most important junior single-seater categories in the world.
As well as launching the careers of 2007 F1 winner Raikkonen and 2008 victor Hamilton, the series boasts fellow Grand Prix stars Paul Di Resta and Heikki Kovalainen among its former competitors.
Webster, who turned 18 earlier this month, said: “In my eyes, the fact Lewis Hamilton won it on his way up is a big thing — it’s a massive stepping stone.
“There are a lot of higher teams in GP2 and Formula Three looking at this series for the stars of the future.
“It’s going to be important to do well and if I can make it into the top three of the championship, maybe next year I could move up another category.”
Webster will race for Skegness-based Mark Burdett Motorsport, the same team he was with when finishing third in the taster winter series.
It is the next level up from Formula Renault BARC, the championship he finished runner-up in last season, and precedes Formula Three and GP2 on the ladder to the glitz and glamour of
The Formula Renault 2.0 UK Championship — which kicks off over the weekend off March 31/April 1 — is also on the undercard of the British Touring Cars Championship (BTCC), meaning he will race in front tens of thousands of fans every round and receive live television coverage.
“It’s fantastic just to be given the opportunity to race,” added Webster.
“The costs are quite high so I’m thankful to all my sponsors who have managed to help put this together.”
The Motorsport Association’s (MSA) Team UK driver and Racing Steps Foundation MSA young driver of the year — whose sponsors include Nine Telecom, Admiral Managed Networks and Integra ICT — will also get to drive on the undercard of the prestigious Formula Three Masters event in Zandvoort, Holland, in mid-July and support British Formula Three at Silverstone.
“It’s a great feeling as a driver to get everything sorted and I can now look forward to continue testing and putting together a good plan for the season,” added Webster, who was trying out his new car at Thruxton circuit in Hampshire this week.
“It’s a big weight off mine and my family’s shoulders.
“I’m really looking forward to the new season in a car that should be competitive.”